William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


The organization of the county was effected in March 14, 1862, at a meeting of the County Commissioners, held at Janesville, the temporary seat of justice. At this meeting, the county was divided into townships, as follows: Lane, from the northeast corner of the county west six miles; thence south eighteen; thence east six miles, and north to point of beginning. Pleasant Grove began at the northeast corner of Section 6, Town 25, Range 13, ran west six miles; thence south ten miles; thence east six miles on the south boundary of the county; thence north to initial point. Janesville began at the northeast corner of Section 3, Town 23, Range 14, and ran west sixteen miles; thence south fourteen miles; thence east sixteen miles; thence north to place of beginning. Eureka began at the northeast corner of Section 15, Town 25, Range 12; ran west sixteen miles; thence south eight miles; thence east sixteen miles, and thence to initial point. The board, after defining the township boundaries, proceeded to appoint county officers. I. M. Todd was made Probate Judge; W. M. Hill, County Clerk; E. Tucker, Register of Deeds; James Steel, Sheriff; William Martindale, County Treasurer. Elections were ordered in the different townships for March 24, 1862. On April 12, there was a second meeting of the County Commissioners, and the bonds of the county officers being approved, they qualified for office. There seems to have been some change in the interim, as C. Cameron became Register of Deeds instead of E. Tucker, who refused the proffered honor, and D. Nichols was made Sheriff instead of James Steel. The County Commissioners at this time were M. E. Stratton, F. Osborn and R. Gasaway.

After the appointment of county officers, the first regular election was held in November, 1862. Those who have held official positions since that date are given below, with the date of their election. County Clerks, H. Norton, 1862; D. T. Nichols, 1863; H. Norton, 1865; J. L. Benson, 1867; L. N. Fancher, 1869; W. S. Reece, 1875; F. J. Cochrane, 1877; J. W. Kenner, 1879. Registers of Deeds, P. Somers, 1862; D. Roach, 1863; James Willis, 1865; J. Gilmore, 1867; I. R. Phenis, 1868; Purlin Baird, 1869; M. J. Verner, 1871; J. W. Seidle, 1873; J. D. Shaw, 1875; J. S. Eastwood. County Treasurers, W. E. Smith, 1862; E. Smith, 1863; W. W. Waybright, 1865; A. F. Nicholas, 1860; W. Smethers, 1873; W. H. Daum, 1875; J. C. Nye, 1879. Probate Judges, J. Hays, 1862; J. Keyes, 1864; J. Kenner, 1866; G. H. Lillie, 1876 (resigned after re-election, and I. R. Phenis appointed in 1880). Clerks of the District Court, W. Martindale, 1862; William Smethers, 1867; W. Denison, 1868; S. H. Martin, 1872; J. S. Stewart, 1876. Sheriffs, W. H. Maloney, 1862, J. E. Grant, 1863; William Hill, 1864; R. R. Turner, 1865; R. Johnson, 1867; G. H. Branson, 1869; J. L. Baker, 1871; J. L. Parker, 1873; W. O. Claycomb, 1875; M. J. Verner, 1879. Superintendents of Public Instruction, E. Tucker, 1862; F. G. Allace, 1866; W. E. J. Nixon, 1868; L. H. Platt, 1870; G. H. Martz, 1872; H. T. Johns, 1874; J. F. Troxell, 1876; G. H. Martz, 1878. In all cases, the name given last in the list of officers is that of the present incumbent.

On June 3, 1871, the proposition to vote $30,000 in bonds of the county, for the purpose of constructing a suitable court house at Eureka, was submitted to the people of the county. The vote on this proposition was found to be 474 for to 371 against, and work was at once begun. As the building progressed, however, it became apparent that a further sum would be needed to complete it in fitting shape, and the issuance of fresh bonds became necessary. These, to the amount of $15,000, were secured at the November election of 1872, the vote standing 734 for to 291 against. At a still later period, $5,000 more was required, and this sum was appropriated from the county funds. This swelled the total cost to $50,000, an apparently large sum for so new a county, yet no one who looks upon the noble edifice can fail to see that the county has value received for its outlay. The building is of limestone, quarried about a mile and one-half west of the town, with trimmings of a similar stone, found in the Flint Hills, on the western border of the county. The county jail is built at the back and forms part of the structure. On the first floor are the offices of the County Clerk, Treasurer, Probate Judge, Superintendent of Public Instruction and County Attorney, the Jailer's rooms, and three unoccupied offices. The second floor is occupied by the County Surveyor, Register of Deeds, Clerk of the District Court and Sheriff, the County Court room with its adjoining consulting rooms and the jail. On the third floor are four jury rooms. The jail on the second floor is fitted up in a style that must be discouraging to prisoners, as it is lined throughout with steel. The architect of this building was J. G. Haskell, of Lawrence, and the builder, John Hammond, of Emporia.


Like most of the counties containing rich agricultural lands and the possibilities of numerous thrifty towns, Greenwood has been the recipient of overtures from many railway companies, either already operating lines or projecting them. The first of these was from a company projecting a line from Ottawa through some part of Greenwood County, and asking for $200,000 of the bonds of the count in exchange for an equal amount of stock of the railway county. This proposition was acceded to by a vote of 485 to 250, but the road was never constructed. The next proposals came from the Fort Scott, Humboldt & Western Railway, which was to run from Fort Scott to Humboldt, and thence west through this county. Bonds to the amount of $200,000 were asked, and at an election held December 19, 1871, they were voted by a poll of 597 to 446. The third election looking to the acquisition of railway facilities was held June 17, 1877, to get the "sense of the county" on the proposition of the St. Louis & Kansas Central Railway offering to build a road through the county in consideration of the subscription of $4,000 in county bonds, running twenty-five years, for each mile of completed track. This was decided adversely, by a vote of 403 to 530, and the road was never begun. On April 24, 1877, it was decided, by a vote of 831 to 682, to accept the offer of the Kansas City, Emporia & Southern Railway Company. This provided for the issuance of $4,000 of the bonds of the county per mile of track built; the funding of the bonds at the expiration of thirty years, and the privilege of taking them up at any time after five years on giving twelve months' notice of intention to do so. It was also provided that their cash value in such a case should be 85 per cent of their face. This road was build through the county in 1879, and now has its terminus in Howard, Elk County.

The proposition of the Kansas City, Burlington & Southwestern Railway and Telegraph Line was lost December 30, 1878, by a vote of 1,134 to 523.

On June 17, 1879, the question of giving bonds to the St. Louis, Wichita & Western Railway was voted upon in Otter, Salt Springs and Twin Grove Townships. The returns of Otter were thrown out by the Board of Canvassers, and those of Salt Springs and Twin Grove shown to give a vote of 248 for and 58 against the proposition. Upon the location of the road, it was not thought expedient to follow the proposed line, and the Salt Springs bonds were invalidated, leaving the bonds of Twin Grove, $15,000, the only ones outstanding. The road was built in 1879 and 1880, and now runs through to Wichita, under the name of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway.

A precinct election of November 3, 1879, gave the bonds of Pleasant Grove, Eureka, Spring Creek and Walnut Creek precincts to the Kansas & Arizona Railway by a vote of 82 to 29, but the road remains like so many others, a paper concern.

Eureka Township and the city gave on September 30, 1881, $48,000 in bonds to the St. Louis, Fort Scott & Wichita Railway, the bonds being divided into $40,000 township and $8,000 city. These bonds bear 7 per cent interest, payable annually. The road reached Eureka in June, 1882, and is now being constructed westward.


The educational history of the county is one of constantly increasing facilities and students to profit by them. The following table, giving the principal statistics of the last three years, is, perhaps, as good a means of showing the scholastic status of the county as any that could be found:

                                          1879.      1880.      1882.
                                          -----      -----      -----
Number of school districts                   80         82         90
Census of school population (5 to 21 yrs) 3,424      3,804      4,219
Number of pupils enrolled                 2,571      2,729      2,987
Average daily attendance                  1,488      1,677      1,775
Number of teachers required                  84         81         97
Schoolhouses built during the year            4          5          8
Value of all school property         $61,700.00 $64,021.00 $77,000.00
Total school expenditures             21,275.64  24,744.18  42,490.82


The manufacturing concerns in the county are seven in number, and consist of the steam grist mill of Smith & Lawther, more particularly described under Eureka; the water-power grist mill of John Denison, on Fall River, about a mile east of Eureka, having a capital of $10,000; the flouring mills of William Smith, at Twin Falls, capital $3,000; Harlan & Wilson, at Madison, Capital $2,200, and J. D. Allen, at Fall River, capital $6,000. There is also a small saw mill at Virgil, owned by Allen & Miller, and having a capital of $416.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]